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THE LIFE & TEACHING OF KARL MARX BY M. BEER Author of ''A History of British Socialism' California legional 'acility This is a translation of a book written by M. Beer to commem- orate the centenary of Marx's birth. It is an adequate and reliable bio- graphy, full of interesting personal details and a clear and comprehensive account of Marx's economic and historical doctrines. A special feature of the book is the new light thrown on Marx's attitude to the " Dictatorship of the Proletariat " and Bolshevist methods generally. No other work in English gives the same information. THE NATIONAL LABOUR PRESS, LIMITED. LONDON : 8 & 9, JOHNSON'S COURT, E.G. 4. MANCHESTER : 30, BLACKFRIARS STREET. THREE SHILLINGS AND SIXPENCE, NET.

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  • THE



    M. BEERAuthor of ''A History of British Socialism'




    This is atranslation of a book

    written by M. Beer to commem-orate the centenary of Marx's birth.

    It is an adequate and reliable bio-

    graphy, full of interesting personaldetails

    and a clear and comprehensive accountof Marx's economic and historical doctrines.

    A special feature of the book is the newlight thrown on Marx's attitude to the"

    Dictatorship of the Proletariat"

    and Bolshevist methods generally.No other work in English

    gives the sameinformation.












    [All rights reserved.']

  • THE



    M. BEERAuthor of "A History of British Socialism"


























    KARLMARX belongs to the ranks of those

    philosophical and sociological thinkers whothrow potent thought-ferment into the world,

    and set in motion the masses of mankind. Theyawaken slumbering doubts and contradictions. They

    proclaim new modes of thought, new social forms.

    Their systems may sooner or later become obsolete,and the ruthless march of time may finally over-throw their intellectual edifice; meanwhile, however,

    they stimulate into activity the minds of countless

    men, inflame countless human hearts, imprintingon them characteristics which are transmitted to

    coming generations. This is the grandest and finest

    work to which any human being can be called.Because these thinkers have lived and worked, their

    contemporaries and successors think more clearly, feel

    more intensely, and are richer in knowledge and self-consciousness.

    The history of philosophy and of social science is

    comprised in such systems and generalisations. Theyare the index to the annals of mankind. None ofthese systems is complete, none comprehends all humanmotives and capacities, none exhausts all the forcesand currents of human society. They all express onlyfragmentary truths, which, however, become effectiveand achieve success because they are shining lightsamidst the intellectual confusion of the generationwhich gives them birth, bringing it to a consciousness


    of the questions of the time, rendering its further

    development less difficult, and enabling its strongest

    spirits to stand erect, with fixity of purpose, in critical


    Hegel expresses himself in a similar sense where be

    remarks : " When the refutation of a philosophy is

    spoken of, this is usually meant in an abstract

    negative (completely destructive) sense, so that the

    confuted philosophy has no longer any validity what-

    ever, and is set aside and done with. If this be so,the study of the history of philosophy must be

    regarded as a thoroughly depressing business, seeingthat this study teaches that every system of philosophywhich has arisen in the course of time has found its

    refutation. But if it is as good as granted that every

    philosophy has been refuted, yet at the same time

    it must be also asserted that no philosophy has been

    refuted, nor ever can be refuted . . . for every

    philosophical system is to be considered as the

    presentation of a particular moment or a particularstage in the evolutionary process of the idea. The

    history of philosophy ... is not, in its totality,a gallery of the aberrations of the human intellect, butis rather to be compared to a pantheon of deities."

    (" Hegel, Encyclopaedia," vol. 1, section 86,

    note 2.)What Hegel says here about philosophy is true also

    of systems of social science, and styles and forms in

    art. The displacement of one system by anotherreflects the historical sequence of the various stagesof social evolution. The characteristic which is

    common to all these systems is their vitality.In spite of their defects and difficulties there surges

    through them a living spirit from the influence of which


    contemporaries cannot escape. Opponents may putthemselves to endless trouble to contradict such

    systems, and show up their shortcomings and incon-

    sistencies, and yet, with all their pains, they do not

    succeed in attaining their object ; their logical sapping

    and mining, their passionate attacks break against the

    vital spirit which the creative genius has breathed into

    his work. The deep impression made on us by this

    vitality is one of the main factors in the formation of

    our judgments upon scientific and artistic achieve-

    ments. Mere formal perfection and beauty throughwhich the life of the times does not throb can never

    create this impression.

    Walter Scott, who was often reproached with defectsand inconsistencies in the construction of his novels,once made answer with the following anecdote : AFrench sculptor, who had taken up his abode in Rome,was fond of taking to the Capitol his artisticallyinclined countrymen who were travelling in Italy, toshow them the equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius,on which occasions he was at pains to demonstrate that

    the horse was defectively modelled, and did not meet

    the requirements of anatomy. After one of these

    criticisms a visitor urged him to prove his case in a

    concrete form by constructing a horse on correct

    artistic principles. The critic set to work, and when,after the lapse of a year, his friends were again

    visiting Rome, exhibited to them his horse. It was

    anatomically perfect. Proudly he had it brought to

    the Capitol, in order to compare both productions and

    so celebrate his triumph. Quite absorbed in his

    critical comparison, the French sculptor after a while

    gave way to a burst of genuine artistic feeling, whichcaused him pathetically to exclaim,

    " Et pourtant


    eette bete-la est vivante, et la mienne est morte !"

    (And yet that animal is alive, while mine is dead.)Quite a number of Marxian critics find themselves

    in the same position as the hypercritical French

    sculptor. Their formal and logically completeeconomic doctrines and systems of historical phi-

    losophy, provided with pedantically correct details and

    definitions, remain dead and ineffective. They do not

    put us into contact with the relations of the time,whereas Marx has bequeathed both to the educatedand the uneducated, to his readers and to non-readers,a multitude of ideas and expressions relating to social

    science, which have become current throughout the

    whole world.

    In Petrograd and in Tokio, in Berlin and in London,in Paris and in Pittsburg, people speak of capital and

    of the capitalist system, of means of production and

    of the class struggle; of Reform and Revolution; ofthe Proletariat and of Socialism. The extent of Marx's

    influence is shown by the economic explanation of the

    world-war, which is even accepted by the most decided

    opponents of the materialist conception of history. Ageneration after Marx's death, the sovereignty of

    Capital shrinks visibly, works' committees and shops'stewards interfere with the productive processes,Socialists and Labour men fill the Parliaments,working men and their representatives rise to or take

    by storm the highest position of political power in

    States and Empires. Many of their triumphs would

    scarcely have received Marx's approval. His theory,white-hot with indomitable passion, demanded thatthe new tables of the Law should be given to menamidst thunder and lightning. But still the essential

    thing is that the proletariat is loosening its bonds, even


    if it does not burst them noisily asunder. We findourselves in the first stages of the evolution of Socialist

    society. Through whatever forms this evolutionary

    process may pass in its logical development, this muchis certain, that only by active thought on the partof Socialists and by the loyal co-operation of the

    workers can it be brought to its perfection.We are already using Hegelian expressions, and

    must therefore pause here to note briefly Hegel'scontribution to the subject. Without a knowledge of

    this, no one can be in a position to appreciate the

    important factors in the life and influence of Marx,or even to understand his first intellectual achieve-

    ments during his student years.


    Until towards the end of the eighteenth century,learned and unlearned, philosophers and philistines,had some such general notions as the following. Theworld has either been created, or it has existed from

    eternity. It is either governed by a personal, super-natural god or universal spirit, or it is kept going bynature, like some delicate machine. It exists in

    accordance with eternal laws, and is perfect, ordained

    to fulfil some design, and constant. The things and

    beings which are found in it are divided into kinds,

    species and classes. All is fixed, constant and eternal.

    Things and beings are contiguous in space, and

    succeed one another in time, as they have done ever

    since time was. It is the same with the incidents and

    events of the world and of mankind. Such common


    proverbs as" There is nothing new under the sun


    and " History repeats itself" are but the popular

    expression of this view.

    Correlative to this philosophy was Logic, or the

    science of the laws of thinking (Greek logos reason,

    word). It taught how men should use their reason,how they should express themselves reasonably, how

    concepts arise (in what manner, for example, the

    human understanding arrived at the concepts stone,tree, animal, man, virtue, vice, etc.); further, howsuch concepts are combined into judgments (proposi-

    tions), and finally, how conclusions are drawn fromthese judgments. This logic exhibited the intellectual

    processes of the human mind. It was founded by theGreek philosopher, Aristotle (384 to 322 B.C.), and

    remained essentially unaltered until the beginning of

    the nineteenth century, in the same way as our whole

    conception of the universe remained unchanged. This

    science of human intellectual processes was based onthree original laws of thought, which best characterise

    it. Just as an examining magistrate looks a prisonerin the face, and identifies him, so that uncertainty and

    contradiction may be avoided, so this logic began byestablishing the identity of the conceptions with which

    it was to operate. Consequently, it established as the

    first law of thought the Principle of Identity, which

    runs as follows : A=A, i.e., each thing, each being, islike itself ; it possesses an individuality of its own,

    peculiar to itself. To put it more clearly, this prin-ciple affirms that the earth is the earth, a state is a

    state, Capital is Capital, Socialism is Socialism.

    From this proceeds the second law of thought, the

    Principle of Contradiction. A cannot be A andnot A. Or following our example given above, the


    earth cannot be the earth and a ball of fire; a State

    cannot be a State and an Anarchy ; Capital cannot be

    Capital and Poverty; Socialism cannot be Socialism

    and Individualism. Therefore there must be no con-

    tradictions, for a thing which contradicts itself is

    nonsense; where, however, this occurs either in

    actuality or in thought, it is only an accidental excep-tion to the rule, as it were, or a passing and irregular

    phenomenon.From this law of thought follows directly the third,

    viz., the Principle of the Excluded Middle. A thingis either A or non-A; there is no middle term. Or,according to our example, the earth is either a solid

    body, or, if it is not solid, it is no earth; there is no

    middle term. The State is either monarchical, or, ifit is not monarchical, it is no State. Capitalism is

    either oppressive, or altogether not Capitalism. Social-

    ism is either revolutionary, or not Socialism at all ;there is no middle term. (Socialism is either reformist,or not Socialism at all; there is no middle term.)With these three intellectual laws of identity, of

    contradiction, and of the excluded middle, formal

    logic begins.

    It is at once apparent that this logic operates with

    rigid, constant, unchanging, dogmatic conceptions,

    something like geometry, which deals with definitelybounded spatial forms. Such was the rationale of the

    old world-philosophy.

    By the beginning of the nineteenth century a new

    conception of the world had begun to make its way.The world, as we see it, or get to know it from books,was neither created, nor has it existed from time

    immemorial, but has developed in the course of

    uncounted thousands of years, and is still in process


    of development. It has traversed a whole series of

    changes, transformations, and catastrophes. The

    earth was a gaseous mass, then a ball of fire; the

    species and classes of things and beings which exist

    on the earth have partly arisen by gradual transition

    from one sort into another, and partly made their

    appearance as a result of sudden changes. And inhuman history it is the same as in nature ; the formand significance of the family, of the State, of pro-duction, of religion, of law, etc., are subjected to a

    process of development. All things are in flux, in a

    state of becoming, of arising and disappearing. There

    is nothing rigid, constant, unchanging in the Cosmos.

    In view of the new conception, the old formal logiccould no longer satisfy the intellect; it could not

    adequately deal with things in a state of evolution.

    In ever-increasing measure it became impossible for

    the thinker to work with hard and fast conceptions.From the beginning of the nineteenth century a new

    logic was sought, and it was G. W. F. Hegel (17701831) who made a comprehensive and thoroughlypainstaking endeavour to formulate a new logic inaccordance with the universal process of evolution.

    This task appeared to him to be the more urgent, as

    his whole philosophy aimed at bringing thought and

    being, reason and the universe, into the closest

    connection and agreement, dealing with them as

    inseparable from each other, regarding them as iden-

    tical, and representing the universe as the gradualembodiment of Reason. " What is reasonable is real ;what is real is reasonable.'* The task of philosophyis to comprehend what is. Every individual is the

    child of his time. Even philosophy is its time graspedin thought. No individual can overleap his time.


    (Pref. to Phil, of Law.) It is evident that, in his

    way, Hegel was no abstract thinker, divorced from

    actuality, and speculating at large. Rather he set

    himself to give material content to the abstract and

    purely ideal, to make it concrete, in fact. The ideawithout reality, or reality without the idea, seemed

    to him unthinkable. Accordingly his logic could notdeal merely with the laws of thought, but must at thesame time take account of the laws of cosmic evolu-tion. Merely to play with the forms of thought, and

    to fence with ideas, as the old logicians, especially in

    the Middle Ages, were wont to do, seemed to him a

    useless, abstract, unreal operation. He, therefore,created a science of thinking, which formulated not

    only the laws of thought, but also the laws of

    evolution, albeit, unfortunately, in a language which

    offered immense difficulties to his readers.The essence of his logic is the dialectic.

    By dialectic the old Greeks understood the art ofdiscourse and rejoinder, the refutation of an opponent

    by the destruction of his assertions and proofs, the

    bringing into relief of the contradictions and antitheses.When examined closely, this art of discussion, in spiteof its contradictory and apparently negative (destruc-

    tive) intellectual work, is seen to be very useful,

    because, out of the clash of opposing opinions, it

    brings forth the truth and stimulates to deeper

    thought. Hegel seized hold of this expression, and

    named his logical method after it. This is the dialec-tical method, or the manner of conceiving the thingsand beings of the universe as in the process of

    becoming, through the struggle of contradictoryelements and their resolution. With its aid, he bringsto judgment the three original laws of thought which


    have already been alluded to. The principle of

    identity is an abstract, incomplete truth, for it

    separates a thing from the variety of other things, and

    its relations to them. Everybody will see this to betrue. Let us take the proposition : the earth is the

    earth. Whoever hears the first three words of this

    proposition naturally expects that what is predicatedof the earth should tell him something which distin-

    guishes the earth from other things. Instead of this,he is offered an empty, hard and fast identity, the

    dead husk of an idea. If the principle of identity is

    at best only an incomplete truth, the principles of

    contradiction and of the excluded middle are completeuntruths. Far from making a thought nonsense,contradiction is the very thing which unfolds and

    develops the thought, and hence, too, the object which

    it expresses. It is precisely opposition, or antithesis,

    which sets things in motion, which is the mainspringof evolution, which calls forth and develops the latent

    forces and powers of being. Had the earth as a fiery,gaseous mass remained in that state, without the

    contradiction, that is, the cooling and condensation,

    taking place, then no life would have appeared on it.

    Had the State remained autocratic, and the contra-

    dictory principle, middle-class freedom, been absent,then the life of the State would have become rigid,and the bloom of culture rendered impossible. Had

    Capitalism remained without its proletarian contradic-

    tion, then it would have reverted to an industrial

    feudalism. It is the contradiction, or the antithesis,

    which brings into being the whole kingdom of the

    potentialities and gifts of nature and of humanity.

    Only when the contradictory begins to reveal itselfdoes evolution to a higher plane of thought and


    existence begin. It is obvious that we are not con-cerned here with logical contradictions, which usuallyarise from unclear thinking or from confusion in the

    presentation of facts; Hegel, and after him Marx,dealt rather with real contradictions, with antitheses

    and conflicts, as they arise of themselves in the processof evolution of things and conditions.

    The thing or the being, against which the contra-diction operates, was called by Hegel the Positive, and

    the contradiction, the antagonistic element, or the

    antithesis, he called the Negation. As may be seenfrom our example, this negation is not mere annihila-

    tion, not a resolution into nothing, but a clearing awayand a building up at the same time; a disappearanceand a coming into existence ; a movement to a higherstage. Hegel says in this connection :

    "It has been

    hitherto one of the rooted prejudices of logic and a

    commonly accepted belief that the contradiction is notso essential or so inherent a characteristic (in thoughtand existence) as the identity. Yet in comparisonwith it the identity is, in truth, but the characteristic

    of what is simply and directly perceived, of lifeless

    existence. The contradiction, however, is the sourceof all movement and life ; only in so far as it containsa contradiction can anything have movement, power,and effect."

    The part played by the contradiction, the antithesis,or the negation very easily escapes a superficialobserver. He sees, indeed, that the world is filled witha variety of things, and that where anything is there

    is also its opposite; e.g., existence non-existence,

    cold heat, light darkness, mildness harshness,

    pleasure pain, joy sorrow, riches poverty, Capital

    Labour, life death, virtue vice, Idealism


    Materialism, Romanticism Classicism, etc., but

    superficial thought does not realise that it is faced

    with a world of contradictions and antitheses ; it onlyknows that the world is full of varied and manifold

    things."Only active reason," says Hegel,

    " reducedthe mere multiplicity and diversity of phenomena toantithesis. And only when pushed to this point dothe manifold phenomena become active and mutuallystimulating, producing the state of negation, which

    is the very heart-beat of progress and life." Only

    through their differentiation and unfolding as opposingforces and factors is further progress beyond the

    antithesis to a higher positive stage made possible."Where, however," continues Hegel,

    " the power to

    develop the contradiction and bring it to a head is

    lacking, the thing or the being is shattered on the

    contradiction." (Hegel," Science of Logic," Pt. 1,

    Sec. 2, pp. 66, 69, 70.)This thought of Hegel's is of extraordinary import-

    ance for the understanding of Marxism. It is the

    soul of the Marxian doctrine of the class-struggle, nay,of the whole Marxian system. One may say thatMarx is always on the look-out for contradictionswithin the social development, for wherever the con-

    tradiction (antithesis class struggle) shows itself,there begins, according to Marx-Hegel, the progressto a higher plane.*We have now become familiar with two expressions

    of the dialectical method, the positive and the nega-tion. We have seen the first two stages of the processof growth in thought and in reality. The process is

    not yet complete. It still requires a third stage.

    In one of the later chapters the reader will find the series ofcontradictions discovered by Marx in the evolution of capitalism.Sec. IV.,

    "Outlines of the Economic Doctrine." Chapter 8,

    " EconomicContradictions."


    This third step Hegel called the Negation of the

    Negation. With the continued operation of the

    negation, a new thing or being comes into existence.To revert to our examples : the complete cooling

    and condensation of the earth's crust : the rise of the

    middle-class State : the victory of the Proletariat :

    these things represent the suspension or the setting

    aside of the Negation; the contradiction is thus

    resolved, and a new stage in the process of evolutionis reached. The expressions Positive (or affirmation),

    Negation, and Negation of the Negation, are also

    known as thesis, antithesis, and synthesis.In order to understand this more distinctly, and to

    visualise it, let us consider an egg. It is something

    positive, but it contains a germ, which, awakening to

    life, gradually consumes (i.e., negatives) the contents

    of the egg. This negation is, however, no mere

    destruction and annihilation; on the contrary, it

    results in the germ developing into a living thing.The negation being complete, the chick breaks throughthe egg shell. This represents the negation of the

    negation, whereby there has arisen something

    organically higher than an egg.This mode of procedure in human thinking and in

    the operations of nature and history Hegel called the

    dialectical method, or the dialectical process. It is

    evident that the dialectic is at the same time a method

    of investigation and a philosophy. Hegel outlines his

    dialectic in the following words :" The only thing which is required for scientific

    progress, an elementary principle for the understand-

    ing of which one should really strive, is the recognitionof the logical principle that the negative is just as

    much a positive, or that the contradictory does not


    resolve into nothing, into an abstract nothingness,but actually only into the negation of a special content.

    . . . In so far as the resultant, the negation, is a

    definite negation, it has a content. It is a new con-

    ception, but a higher and richer conception than the

    preceding one; for it has been enriched by the

    negation or antithesis of this ; it therefore contains it

    and more than contains it, being indeed the synthetic

    unity of itself and its contrary. In this way the

    system of concepts has to be formed and is to be

    perfected by a continual and purely intellectual

    process which is independent of outside influences."

    (Hegel," Science of Logic

    "(German), Bk. I.,


    The dialectical process completes itself not only bygradual transitions, but also by leaps. Hegelremarks :" It has been said that there are no sudden leaps

    in nature, and it is a common notion that things havetheir origin through gradual increase or decrease.

    But there is also such a thing as sudden transforma-tion from quantity into quality. For example, water

    does not become gradually hard on cooling, becomingfirst pulpy and ultimately attaining the rigidity of

    ice, but turns hard at once. If the temperature be

    lowered to a certain degree, the water is suddenly

    changed into ice, i.e., the quantity the number of

    degrees of temperature is transformed into qualitya change in the nature of the thing. (" Logic


    (German), Pt. 1, Sec. 1, p. 464, Ed. 1841.)Marx handled this method with unsurpassed

    mastery; with its aid he formulated the laws of the

    evolution of Socialism. In his earliest works," The

    Holy Family"

    (1844) and the"Poverty of



    (1847), written when he was formula-

    ting his materialist conception of history, as also in

    his " Capital," it is with the dialectic of Hegel thathe investigates these laws." Proletariat and Riches (later Marx would have

    said Capital) are antitheses. As such they constitute

    a whole; both are manifestations of the world of

    private property. The question to be considered is

    the specific position which both occupy in the anti-

    thesis. To describe them as two sides of a whole isnot a sufficient explanation. Private property as

    private property, as riches, is compelled to preserveits own existence, and along with it that of its anti-

    thesis, the Proletariat. Private property satisfied in

    itself is the positive side of the antithesis. The

    Proletariat, on the other hand, is obliged, as Pro-

    letariat, to abolish itself, and along with it private

    property, its conditioned antithesis, which makes it

    the Proletariat. It is a negative side of the antithesis,

    the internal source of unrest, the disintegrated and

    disintegrating Proletariat. . . . Within the anti-

    thesis, therefore, the owner of private property is the

    conservative, and the proletarian is the destructive

    party. From the former proceeds the action of main-

    taining the antithesis, from the latter the action of

    destroying it. From the point of view of its national,economic movement, private property is, of course,

    continually being driven towards its own dissolution,but only by an unconscious development which is

    independent of it, and which exists against its will,and is limited by the nature of things; only, that is,

    by creating the Proletariat as proletariat, povertyconscious of its own physical and spiritual poverty,and demoralised humanity conscious of its own


    demoralisation and consequently striving against it." The Proletariat fulfils the judgment which private

    property by the creation of the Proletariat suspendsover itself, just as it fulfils the judgment which wage-labour suspends over itself in creating alien riches and

    its own condemnation. If the Proletariat triumphs,it does not thereby become the absolute side of society,for it triumphs only by abolishing itself and its

    opposite. In this way both the Proletariat and itsconditioned opposite, private property, are done awaywith."*

    The dialectical method is again described in a fewsentences on pages 420 421 of the third volume of"


    (German), where we read :" In so far as

    the labour process operates merely between man andnature, its simple elements are common to every formof its social development. But any given historical,form of this process further develops its material

    foundations and its social forms. When it hasattained a certain degree of maturity the givenhistorical form is cast off and makes room for a

    higher one. That the moment of such a crisishas arrived is shown as soon as there is a

    deepening and widening of the contradiction and

    antithesis between the conditions of distribution, and

    consequently also the existing historical form of the

    conditions of production corresponding to them, on

    the one hand, and the forces of production, productive

    capacity, and the state of evolution of its agents, on

    the other. There then arises a conflict between the

    material development of production and its cor-

    responding social form."

    Marx, In "The Holy Family" (1844), reprinted by Mehring in the"Collected Works or Literary Reraaing of Marx and Engels," TO!. II.,

    p. 182.


    But the Hegelian dialectic appears most strikingly inthe famous twenty-fourth chapter (sec. 7) of the first

    volume of " Capital"

    (German), where the evolution

    of capitalism from small middle-class ownership

    through all phases up to the Socialist revolution is

    comprehensively outlined in bold strokes :" The

    capitalist method of appropriation, which springs fromthe capitalist method of production, and therefore

    capitalist private property, is the first negation of

    individual private property based on one's own labour.But capitalist production begets with the inevitable-ness of a natural process its own negation. It is the

    negation of the negation." Here we have the three

    stages : the thesis private property; the antithesis

    capitalism; the synthesis common ownership.Of critical social writers outside Germany it was

    Proudhon, in particular, who, in his works" What is

    Property?" and " Economic Contradictions, or the

    Philosophy of Poverty"

    (1840, 1846), attempted to

    use the Hegelian dialectic. The fact that he gave hischief book the title " Economic Contradictions "

    shows that Proudhon was largely preoccupied with

    Hegel. Nevertheless, he did not get below the

    surface ; he used the Hegelian formulae quite

    mechanically, and lacked the conception of an

    immanent process of development (the forward-

    impelling force within the social organism).If we look at the dialectical method as here pre-

    sented, Hegel might be taken for a materialist thinker.

    Such a notion would be erroneous. For Hegel is an

    idealist : the origin and essence of the process of

    growth is to be sought, according to him, not in

    material forces, but in the logical idea, reason, the

    universal spirit, the absolute, or in its religious


    expression God. Before He created the world Heis to be regarded as an Idea, containing within itself

    all forms of being, which it develops dialectically.The idea creates for itself a material embodiment; itfirst expresses itself in the objects of inorganic nature ;

    then in plants, organisms wherein life awakens ; then

    in animals, in which the Idea attains to the twilightof reason; finally, in men, where reason rises into

    mind and achieves self-consciousness and freedom.

    As self-conscious mind it expresses itself in the historyof peoples, in religion, art and philosophy, in human

    institutions, in the family and in law, until it realises

    itself in the State as its latest and highest object.

    According to Hegel, then, the universal Idea

    develops into Godhead in proportion as the material

    world rises from the inorganic to the organic, and,

    finally, to man. In the mental part of man, the Idea

    arrives at self-consciousness and freedom and becomes

    God. In his cosmology, Hegel is a direct descendant

    of the German mystics, Sebastion Franck and JacobBoehme. He was in a much higher degree Germanthan any of the German philosophers since Leibnitz.The strangest thing, however, is that Germanism,

    Protestantism, and the Prussian State appeared to

    Hegel as the highest expression of the universal

    mind. Particularly the Prussian State as it existed

    before March, 1848, with its repudiation of all middle-

    class reforms and liberalism (of any kind), and its

    basis of strong governmental force.

    There is little purpose in trying to acquire a logical

    conception of Hegelian cosmology. It is not only

    idealist, but, as we said, mystical; it is as in-conceivable to human reason as the biblical;it is irrational, and lies beyond the sphere of


    reason. Making the universe arise out of pure reason,out of the logical idea, developing through the dialec-

    tical process with a consciousness of freedom, it yetconcludes in unreason and an obstinate determinism.

    In Liberalism Hegel saw only a simple negation, a

    purely destructive factor, which disintegrates the

    State and resolves it into individuals, thus deprivingit of all cohesion and organising strength. He blamedParliamentarism for demanding

    " that everythingshould take place through their (the individuals)

    expressed power and consent. The will of the manyoverturns the Ministry, and what was the Oppositionnow takes control, but, so far as it is the Government,the latter finds the many against it. Thus agitationand unrest continue. This collision, this knot, this

    problem, is what confronts history, a problem which

    it must resolve at some future time." One wouldhave thought that it was precisely Parliamentarism,with its unrest and agitation, its antitheses and

    antagonisms, which would have had a special attrac-

    tion for Hegel, but nevertheless he turned aside from

    it. How is this to be explained ?Hegel's relation to the Prussian State is to be

    accounted for by his strong patriotic sentiments. His

    disposition inclined him strongly to nationalism in

    politics. In his early manhood he witnessed the

    complete dissolution of the German Empire, and

    deeply bewailed the wretchedness of German condi-

    tions. He wrote : " Germany is no longer a State ;even the wars which Germany waged have not endedin a particularly honourable manner for her. Bur-

    gundy, Alsace, Lorraine have been torn away. The

    Peace of Westphalia has often been alluded to as

    Germany's Palladium, although by it the complete


    dismemberment of Germany has only been establishedmore thoroughly than before. The Germans havebeen grateful to Richelieu, who destroyed their

    power." On the other hand, the achievements ofPrussia in the Seven Years' War, and in the War ofLiberation against the French, awoke in him the hopethat it was this State which could save Germany.To this thought he gave eloquent and enthusiastic

    expression in his address at the opening of his Berlin

    lectures in October, 1818, and also in his lecture on

    Frederick the Great. Hegel therefore rejected every-

    thing which seemed to him to spell a weakening of

    the Prussia State power. The dialectician was over-come by national feelings.However, Hegel's place in the history of thought

    rests, not on his explanations of the creation of the

    world, nor on his German nationalist politics, but uponthe dialectical method. In exploring, by means of

    this method, the wide expanse of human knowledge,he scattered an astonishing abundance of materialistic

    and strictly scientific observations and suggestions,and inspired his pupils and readers with a living con-

    ception of history, of the development of mankind toself-consciousness and freedom, thus rendering them

    capable of pushing their studies further, and eman-

    cipating themselves from all mysticism. As an

    example of the materialist tendency of his philosophy,the following references will serve. His


    of History" contains a whole chapter upon the

    geographical foundations of universal history. In this

    chapter he expresses himself quite contrary to his

    deification of the State as follows : " A real Stateand a real central government only arise when thedistinction of classes is already given, when Richesand Poverty have become very great, and such con-


    ditions have arisen that a great multitude can no

    longer satisfy their needs in the way to which theyhave been accustomed." Or take his explanation of

    the founding of colonies by the Greeks." This projecting of colonies, particularly in the

    period after the Trojan War until Cyrus, is here a

    peculiar phenomenon, which may thus be explained :in the individual towns the people had the governing

    power in their hands, in that they decided the affairs

    of State in the last resort. In consequence of the long

    peace, population and development greatly increased,and quickly brought about the accumulation of

    great riches, which is always accompanied by the

    phenomenon of great distress and poverty. Industry,in our sense, did not exist at that time, and the land

    was speedily monopolised. Nevertheless, a section of

    the poorer classes would not allow themselves to be

    depressed to the poverty line, for each man felt himselfto be a free citizen. The sole resource, therefore, was


    Or even the following passage, which conceives the

    philosophical system merely as the result and reflec-

    tion of the accomplished facts of existence, and

    therefore rejects all painting of Utopias :*'


    philosophy comes always too late to say a word asto how the world ought to be. As an idea of the

    universe, it only arises in the period after reality has

    completed its formative process and attained its final

    shape. What this conception teaches is necessarilydemonstrated by history, namely, that the ideal

    appears over against the real only after the consum-

    mation of reality, that the ideal reconstructs the same

    world, comprehended in the substance of reality, in

    the form of an intellectual realm. A form of life hasbecome old when philosophy paints its grey on grey,


    and with grey on grey it cannot be rejuvenated but

    only recognised. The owl of Minerva begins its flightonly with the falling twilight." Preface to the"Philosophy of Law."No materialist could have said this better : the owlthe symbol of wisdom only begins her flight in the

    evening, after the busy activities of the world are over.

    Thus we have first the universe, and then thought;first existence, and then consciousness.

    Hegel himself was therefore an example of his own

    teaching that contradictory elements are to be found

    side by side. His mind contained both idealism and

    realism, but he did not bring them by a process of

    reasoning to the point of acute contradiction in order

    to reach a higher plane of thought. And as he regardedit as the task of philosophy to recognise the principleof things, and to follow it out systematically and

    logically throughout the whole vast domain of reality,and as further, owing to his mystical bent, he asserted

    the idea to be the ultimate reality, he remained a

    consistent Idealist.

    The Conservatism of Hegel, who was the philoso-phical representative of the Prussian State, was,

    however, sadly incompatible with the awakeningconsciousness of the German middle class, which, hi

    spite of its economic weakness, aspired to a freer State

    constitution, and greater liberty of action. These

    aspirations were already somewhat more strongly

    developed in the larger towns and industrial centres

    of Prussia and the other German States. The YoungHegelians* championed this middle-class awakening in

    * After the death of Hegel differences of opinion arose among hisdisciples, chiefly with respect to his doctrines of the Deity, immortalityand the personality of Christ. One section, the so-called

    "Right Wing,"

    inclined to orthodoxy on these questions. In opposition to them stoodthe ''Young Hegelians," the progressive "Left Wing." To this sectionbelonged Arnold Ruge, Bruno Bauer, Feuerbach, and Strauss, author ofthe

    "Life of Jesu8.'r


    the philosophical sphere, just as"Young Germany


    (Heine, Boerne, etc.) did in the province of literature.

    Just at the time when Marx was still at the

    university the Young Hegelians took up the fightagainst the conservative section of Hegel's disciples and

    the Christian Romanticism of Prussia. The antagon-ism between the old and the new school made itselffelt both in religious philosophy and political litera-

    ture, but both tendencies were seldom combined in

    the same persons. David Strauss subjected the

    Gospels to a candid criticism ; Feuerbach investigatedthe nature of Christianity and of religion generally,and in this department inverted Hegel's Idealism to

    Materialism ; Bruno Bauer trained his heavy historical

    and philosophical artillery on the traditional dogmas

    concerning the rise of Christianity. Politically, how-

    ever, they remained at the stage of the freedom of

    the individual : that is, they were merely moderate

    Liberals. Nevertheless, there were also less prominent

    Young Hegelians who were at that time in the Liberalleft wing as regards their political opinions, such as

    Arnold Ruge.None of the Young Hegelians had, however, used

    the dialectical method to develop still further the

    teaching of the Master. Karl Marx, the youngest of

    the Hegelians, first brought it to a higher stage in

    social science. He was no longer known to Hegel, who

    might otherwise have died with a more contented or

    perhaps even still more perturbed mind. Heinrich

    Heine, who belonged to the Hegelians in the thirties

    and forties, relates the following anecdote, which if

    not true yet excellently illustrates the extraordinary

    difficulties of the Master's doctrines :

    As Hegel lay dying, his disciples, who had gathered


    round him, seeing the furrows deepen on the Master's

    care-worn countenance, inquired the cause of his

    grief, and tried to comfort him by reminding him of

    the large number of admiring disciples and followershe would leave behind. Breathing with difficulty, he

    replied :" None of my disciples has understood me ;

    only Michelet has understood me, and," he added with

    a sigh," even he has misunderstood me."

  • The Life and Teaching of Karl Marx




    Karl Heinrich Marx first saw the light of day inTreves on May 5, 1818. His father, an enlightened,fine feeling, and philanthropic Jew, was a Jurist whohad slowly risen from the humble circumstances of a

    German Rabbi family and acquired a respectablepractice, but who never learnt the art of makingmoney. His mother was a Dutchwoman, and cameof a Rabbi family called Pressburg, which, as the

    name indicates, had emigrated from Pressburg, in

    Hungary, to Holland, in the seventeenth century.She spoke German very imperfectly. Marx hashanded on to us one of her sayings,

    "If Karl made

    a lot of Capital, instead of writing a lot about Capital,it would have been much better." The Marxes hadseveral children, of whom Karl alone showed specialmental gifts.

    In the year 1824 the family embraced Christianity.The baptism of Jews was at that time no longer a

    rarity. The enlightenment of the last half of the

    eighteenth century had undermined the dogmatic


    beliefs of many cultured Jews, and the succeedingperiod of German Christian Romanticism brought a

    strengthening and idealising of Christianity and of

    national feeling, from which, for practical just as muchas for spiritual reasons, the Jews who had renouncedtheir own religion could not escape. They were

    completely assimilated, felt and thought like the

    rest of their Christian and German fellow-citizens.Marx's father felt himself to be a good Prussian,and once recommended his son to compose an

    ode, in the grand style, on Napoleon's downfall

    and Prussia's victory. Karl did not, in truth, follow

    his father's advice, but from that time of Christian

    enthusiasm and German patriotic sentiment until hislife's end, there remained with him an anti-Jewish

    prejudice; the Jew was generally to him either ausurer or a cadger.

    Karl was sent to the grammar school in his native

    town, leaving with a highly creditable record. The

    school was, however, not the only place where he

    developed his mind. During his school years he used

    to frequent the house of the Government PrivyCouncillor, L. von Westphalen, a highly cultured

    Prussian official, whose favourite poets were Homerand Shakespeare, and who followed attentively theintellectual tendencies of his time. Although he had

    already reached advanced age, he liked to converse

    with the precocious youth, and to influence his mental

    growth. Marx honoured him as a fatherly friend" who welcomes every progressive movement with theenthusiasm and sober judgment of a lover of truth,and who is a living proof that Idealism is no

    imagination, but the truth." (Dedication of Marx's

    doctor thesis.)


    After quitting the public school, Marx went

    to the University of Bonn, in order to study juris-

    prudence, according to his father's wishes. After a

    year of the merry life of a student, he removed in the

    autumn of 1836 to Berlin University, the centre of

    culture and truth, as Hegel had called it in his

    Inaugural Lecture (1818). Before his departure for

    Berlin, he had become secretly engaged to Jenny Von

    Westphalen, the daughter of his fatherly friend, a

    woman distinguished alike for beauty, culture, and

    strength of character.


    In Berlin, Marx threw himself into the study of

    Philosophy, Jurisprudence, History, Geography,

    Literature, the History of Art, etc. He had a Faust-like thirst for truth, and his appetite for work was

    insatiable; in these matters only superlatives can be

    used to describe Marx. In one of his poems datingfrom this period, he says of himself :

    " Ne'er can I perform in calmnessWhat has seized my soul with might,

    But must strive and struggle onwardIn a ceaseless, restless flight.

    All divine, enhancing gracesWould I make of life a part;

    Penetrate the realms of science,

    Grasp the joys of Song and Art."


    Giving up all social intercourse, he worked nightand day, making abstracts of what he read, translatingfrom Greek and Latin, working at philosophical

    systems, setting down a considerable number of hisown thoughts, and drafting outlines of philosophy or

    jurisprudence, as well as writing three volumes of

    poems. The year 1837 marks one of the critical

    periods of Marx's intellectual development; it was a

    time of vacillation and ferment and of internal

    struggle, at the end of which he found refuge in the

    Hegelian dialectics. In so doing he turned his back

    on the abstract idealism of Kant and Fichte, and madethe first step towards reality ; and indeed at that time

    Marx firmly believed that Hegel actually stood for

    reality. In a somewhat lengthy letter dated November

    10, 1837, a truly human document, Marx gives hisfather an account of Ms intense activity during thatremarkable period, comprising his first two terms at

    the University of Berlin, when he was still so veryyoung :

    " DEAR FATHER," There are times which are landmarks in our

    lives ; and they not only mark off a phase that has

    passed, but, at the same time, point out clearly our

    new direction. At such turning points we feel

    impelled to make a critical survey of the past andthe present, so as to attain to a clear knowledgeof our actual position. Nay, mankind itself, as all

    history shows, loves to indulge in this retrospectionand contemplation, and thereby often appears to be

    going backward or standing still, when after all it

    has only thrown itself back in its armchair, the

    better to apprehend itself, to grasp its own doings,and to penetrate into the workings of the spirit.


    " The individual, however, becomes lyrical at

    such times; for every metamorphosis is in part an

    elegy on the past and in part the prologue of a greatnew poem that is striving for permanent expressionin a chaos of resplendent but fleeting colours. Bethat as it may, we would fain set up a monumentto our past experiences that they may regain in

    memory the significance which they have lost inthe active affairs of life : and what more fitting waycan we find of doing that than by bringing themand laying them before the hearts of our parents !" And so now, when I take stock of the year

    which I have just spent here, and in so doing answer

    your very welcome letter from Ems, let me consider

    my position, in the same way as I look on lifealtogether, as the embodiment of a spiritual force

    that seeks expression in every direction : in science,

    in art, and in one's own personality. . . . On

    my arrival in Berlin I broke off all my former con-nections, paid visits rarely and unwillingly, and

    sought to bury myself in science and art. . . In

    accordance with my ideas at the time, poetry mustof necessity be my first concern, or at least the mostagreeable of my pursuits, and the one for which Imost cared ; but, as might be expected from mydisposition and the whole trend of my development,it was purely idealistic. Next I had to study juris-

    prudence, and above all I felt a strong impulse to

    grapple with philosophy. Both studies, however,were so interwoven that on the one hand I worked

    through the Jurist's Heineccius and Thibaut and

    the Sources docilely and quite uncritically, transla-

    ting, for instance, the first two books of the

    Pandects of Justinian, while on the other hand I


    attempted to evolve a philosophy of law in the

    sphere of jurisprudence. By way of introduction Ilaid down a few metaphysical principles, andcarried this unfortunate work as far as Public

    Rights, in all about 300 sheets." In this, however, more than in anything else,

    the conflict between what is and what ought to be,which is peculiar to Idealism, made itself disagree-ably prominent. In the first place there was what

    I had so graciously christened the Metaphysics of

    Law, i.e., first principles, reflections, definitions,

    standing aloof from all established jurisprudence and

    from every actual form of legal practice. Then theunscientific form of mathematical dogmatism in

    which there is so much beating about the bush, somuch diffuse argumentation without any fruitful

    development or vital creation, hindered me from theoutset from arriving at the Truth. A triangle maybe constructed and reasoned about by the mathe-

    matician ; it is a mere spatial concept and does not

    of itself undergo any further evolution; it must be

    brought in conjunction with something else, whenit requires other properties, and thus by placingthe same thing in various relationships we areenabled to deduce new relationships and new truths.Whereas in the concrete expression of the mental

    life as we have it in Law, in the State, in Nature,and in the whole of philosophy, the object of our

    study must be considered in its development. . .

    The individual's reason must proceed with its self-

    contradiction until it discovers its own unity."

    In this we perceive the first trace of the Hegeliandialectic in Marx. We see rigid geometrical forms


    contrasted with the continually evolving organism,with social forms and human institutions. Marx had

    put up a stout resistance against the influence of the

    Hegelian philosophy; nay, he had even hated it and

    had made mighty efforts to cling faithfully to his

    idealism, but in the end he, too, must fall under the

    spell of the idea of evolution, in the form which it

    then assumed in Hegelian speculation in Germany.Marx then goes on to speak of his legal studies as

    well as of his poems, and thus continues :

    " As a result of these various activities I passedmany sleepless nights during my first term, engagedin many battles, and had to endure much mentaland physical excitement; and at the end of it all

    I found myself not very much better off, having inthe meanwhile neglected nature, art and society,and spurned pleasure : such, indeed, was the com-

    ment which my body seemed to make. My doctoradvised me to try the country, and so, having forthe first time passed through the whole length of

    the city, I found myself before the gate on the

    Stralau Road. . . . From the idealism which Ihad cherished so long I fell to seeking the ideal in

    reality itself. Whereas before the gods had dwelt

    above the earth, they had now become its verycentre.

    *'I had read fragments of Hegel's philosophy,

    the strange, rugged melody of which had not pleasedme. Once again I wished to dive into the depthsof the sea, this time with the resolute intention

    of finding a spiritual nature just as essential,

    concrete, and perfect as the physical, and instead

    of indulging in intellectual gymnastics, bringing uppure pearls into the sunlight.


    " I wrote about 24 sheets of a dialogue entitled' Cleantes or on the Source and Inevitable Develop-ment of Philosophy.* In this, art and science, whichhad hitherto been kept asunder, were to some extent

    blended, and bold adventurer that I was, I even set

    about the task of evolving a philosophical, dialec-

    tical exposition of the nature of the Deity as it is

    manifested in a pure concept, in religion, in nature,and in history. My last thesis was the beginningof the Hegelian system ; and this work, in course of

    which I had to make some acquaintance with science,

    Schelling and history, and which had occasioned mean infinite amount of hard thinking, delivers me likea faithless siren into the hands of the enemy. . . ."Upset by Jenny's illness and by the fruitless-

    ness and utter failure of my intellectual labours, andtorn with vexation at having to make into my idola view which I had hated, I fell ill, as I have

    already told you in a previous letter. On myrecovery I burnt all my poems and material forprojected short stories in the vain belief that I could

    give all that up ; and, to be sure, so far I have not

    given cause to gainsay it."During my illness I had made acquaintance with

    Hegel from beginning to end, as also with most of

    his disciples. Through frequent meetings with

    friends in Stralau I got an introduction into a

    Graduates' Club, in which were a number of pro-fessors and Dr. Rutenberg, the closest of my Berlinfriends. In the discussions that took place manyconflicting views were put forward, and more andmore securely did I get involved in the meshes of

    the new philosophy which I had sought to escape;but everything articulate in me was put to silence,


    a veritable ironical rage fell upon me, as well it mightafter so much negation." (" Neue Zeit," 16th

    year, Vol. I., No. 1.)

    His father was anything but pleased with this letter.He reproached Karl with the aimless and discursiveway in which he worked. He had expected that theseBerlin studies would lead to something more than

    breeding monstrosities and destroying them again.He believed that Karl would, before everything else,have considered his future career, that he would have

    devoted all his attention to the lectures in his course,that he would have cultivated the acquaintance of

    people in authority, that he would have been econo-

    mical, and that he would have avoided all philoso-

    phical extravagances. He refers him to the exampleof his fellow students who attend their lectures regu-larly and have an eye to their future :

    " Indeed these young men sleep quite peacefullyexcept when they now and then devote the wholeor part of a night to pleasure, whereas my cleverand gifted son Karl passes wretched sleepless nights,

    wearying body and mind with cheerless study,forbearing all pleasures with the sole object of

    applying himself to abstruse studies : but what hebuilds to-day he destroys again to-morrow, and in

    the end he finds that he has destroyed what he

    already had, without having gained anything from

    other people. At last the body begins to ail andthe mind gets confused, whilst these ordinary folkssteal along in easy marches, and attain their goalif not better at least more comfortably than thosewho contemn youthful pleasures and underminetheir health in order to snatch at the ghost of erudi-


    tion, which they could probably have exorcised more

    successfully in an hour spent in the society of

    competent men with social enjoyment into the

    bargain !"

    In spite of his unbounded love for his father, Marxcould not deviate from the path which he had chosen.

    Those deeper natures who, after having lost their

    religious beliefs, have the good fortune to attain to a

    philosophical or scientific conception of the universe,

    do not easily shrink from a conflict between filial

    affection and loyalty to new convictions. Nor wasMarx allured by the prospects of a distinguishedofficial career. Indeed his fighting temperament would

    never have admitted of that. He wrote the lines :

    Therefore let us, all things daring,

    Never from our task recede ;Never sink iu sullen silence,

    Paralysed in will and deed.

    Let us not in base subjectionBrood away our fearful life,

    When with deed and aspirationWe might enter in the strife.

    His stay in Stralau had the most beneficial effects

    on his health. He worked strenuously at his newly-acquired philosophical convictions, and for this his

    relations with the members of the Graduates' Club

    stood him in good stead, more especially his acquaint-ance with Bruno Bauer, a lecturer in theology, and

    Friedrich Koppen, a master in a grammar school, whoin spite of difference of age and position treated him

    as an equal. Marx gave up all thought of an official

    career, and looked forward to obtaining a lectureship


    in some university or other. His father reconciledhimself to the new studies and strivings of his son;he was, however, not destined to rejoice at Karl's

    subsequent achievements. After a short illness he died

    in May, 1838, at the age of fifty-six.Marx then gave up altogether the study of juris-

    prudence, and worked all the more assiduously at the

    perfecting of his philosophical knowledge, preparinghimself for his degree examination in order at the

    instigation of Bruno Bauer co get himself admittedas quickly as possible as lecturer in philosophy at the

    University of Bonn. Bauer himself expected to be

    made Professor of Theology in Bonn after havingserved as lecturer in Berlin from 1831 to 1889 and in

    Bonn during the year 1840. Marx wrote a thesis onthe Natural Philosophies of Democritus and Epicurus,and in 1841 the degree of Doctor of Philosophy was

    conferred on him at Jena. He then went over to hisfriend Bauer in Bonn, where he thought to begin his

    career as lecturer. Meanwhile his hopes had dis-

    appeared. Prussian universities were at that time no

    places for free inquirers. It was not even possible for

    Bauer to obtain a professorship ; still less could Marx,who was much more violent in the expression of his

    opinions, reckon on an academic career. His only wayout of this blind alley was free-lance journalism, and

    for this an opportunity soon presented itself.


    Marx made his entry into public life with a thoroughphilosophical training and with an irrestrainable im-


    pulse to enter into the struggle for the spiritual

    freedom of Germany. By spiritual freedom he under-stood first and foremost freedom in religion and

    liberalism in politics. He was, too, perfectly clear asto the instrument to be used : it was criticism. The

    positive and rigid having become ineffectual and un-

    reasonable, is to fall before the weapon of criticism and

    so make room for a living stream of thought and

    being, or as Marx himself expressed it in 1844," to

    make the petrified conditions dance by singing to themtheir own tune." Their own tune is, of course, thedialectic. Criticism, generally speaking, was the

    weapon of the Young Hegelians. Criticism is nega-tion, sweeping away existing conditions and prevailingdogmas to make a clear path for life. Not the settingup of new principles or new dogmas, but the clearingaway of the old dogmas is the task of the YoungHegelians. For if dialectic be rightly understood,criticism or negation is the best positive work.

    Criticism finds expression, above all, in polemics, in

    the literal meaning of waging war ruthless war

    against the unreal for the purpose of shaking up one's

    contemporaries.After Marx had given up all hope of an academic

    career, the only field of labour that remained open to

    him was, as we have already said, that of journalism.His material circumstances compelled him, moreover,to consider the question of an independent livelihood.

    Just about this time the Liberals in the Rhine

    provinces took up a scheme for the foundation of a

    newspaper, the object of which was to prepare the wayfor conditions of greater freedom. The necessary

    money was soon procured. Significantly enough,Young Hegelians were kept in view for editors and


    contributors. On the first of January, 1842, the firstnumber of the Rheinische Zeitung was published at

    Cologne. The editor was Dr. Rutenberg, who hadformed an intimate friendship with Marx at the timethe latter was attending the University of Berlin ; and

    so Marx, then in Bonn, was also invited to contribute.

    He accepted the invitation, and his essays brought himto the notice of Arnold Ruge, who likewise invitedhim to take part in his literary undertakings in con-

    junction with Feuerbach, Bauer, Moses Hess, and

    others. Marx's essays were greatly appreciated, too,

    by the readers of the Rheinische Zeitung, so that in

    October, 1842, on the retirement of Rutenberg, he

    was called to the editorial chair of that journal. In

    his new position he had to deal with a series ofeconomic and political questions which, no doubt, with

    a less conscientious editor would have occasioned little

    hard thinking, but which for Marx showed the need ofa thorough study of political economy and Socialism.In October, 1842, a congress of French and Germanintellectuals was held in Strasburg, and amongst other

    things French Socialist theories were discussed. Like-

    wise in the Rhine provinces arose questions concerninglanded property and taxes, which had to be dealt with

    from the editorial chair, questions which were not lo

    be answered by a purely philosophical knowledge.Besides, the censorship made the way hard for a paperconducted with such critical acumen, and did not allow

    the editor to fulfil his real mission. In the preface to" The Critique of Political Economy

    "(1859) Marx

    gives a short sketch of his editorial life :" As editor of the Rheinische Zeitung, in 1842 and

    1843 I came up, for the first time, against the difficultyof having to take part in the controversy over so-called


    material interests. The proceedings of the Diet

    of the Rhine provinces with regard to wood stealingand parcelling out of landed property, and their action

    towards the farmers of the Moselle districts, and lastlydebates on Free Trade and Protection, gave the first

    stimulus to my investigation of economic questions.On the other hand, an echo of French Socialism and

    Communism, feebly philosophical in tone, had at thattime made itself heard in the columns of the Rheinische

    Zeitung. I declared myself against superficiality, con-

    fessing, however, at the same time that the studies I

    had made so far did not allow me to venture anyjudgment of my own on the significance of the Frenchtendencies. I readily took advantage of the illusion

    cherished by the directors of the Rheinische Zeitung,who believed they could reverse the death sentence

    passed on that journal as a result of weak manage-ment, in order to withdraw from the public platforminto my study."And so the intellectual need which he felt of studying

    economics and Socialism, as well as his thirst for free,unfettered activity, resulted in Marx's retirement from

    his post as editor, although he was about to enter

    upon married life and had to make provision for hisown household. But he was from the beginning deter-mined to subordinate his material existence to his

    spiritual aspirations.

  • II.



    BETWEENthe years 1843 and 1844 we have the

    second and probably the most importantcritical period in the intellectual development

    of Marx. In 1837 he had become a disciple of Hegel,into whose philosophy he penetrated deeper and

    deeper during the two years which ensued. Between

    1843 and 1844 he became a Socialist, and in the follow-

    ing two years he laid the foundations of those social

    and historical doctrines associated with his name. Of

    the way he came to be a Socialist and by what studieshe was led to Socialism, we know nothing. All thatcan be said is that in the summer of 1843 he must have

    pursued the reading of French Socialist literature justas assidiiously as he did the study of Hegel in 1837.

    In his letters to Arnold Ruge, written about 1843, and

    printed in the Franco-German Year Books, we find afew passages which bear witness to his sudden turn-

    over. In a letter from Cologne (May, 1843) he

    remarks : " This system of acquisition and commer-

    cialism, of possession and of the exploitation of man-

    kind, is leading even more swiftly than the increaseof population to a breach within the present society,which the old system cannot heal, because indeed it

    has not the power either to heal or create, but onlyto exist and enjoy."That is still in the sentimental vein, and anything

    but dialectical criticism. In the following few months,



    however, he made surprisingly rapid progresstowards the fundamental ideas of that conception of

    history and society, which later on came to be known

    as Marxism, and which he almost built up into a

    complete system during those restless years of

    exuberant creative activity, 1845 46. In a letter

    from Kreuznach, dated September, 1843, he shows

    already an acquaintance with Fourier, Proudhon,

    Cabet, Weitling, etc., and sees his task not in the

    setting up of Utopias but in the criticism of politicaland social conditions, " in interpreting the strugglesand aspirations of the age." And by the winter of

    1843 he has already advanced so much as to be able

    to write the introduction to the criticism of Hegel's"

    Philosophy of Law," which is one of the boldest

    and most brilliant of his essays. He deals with the

    question of a German revolution, and asks which is

    the class that could bring about the liberation of

    Germany. His answer is that the positive conditions

    for the German revolution and liberation are to be

    sought" in the formation of a class in chains, a class

    which finds itself in bourgeois society, but which is not

    of it, of an order which shall break up all orders. The

    product of this dissolution of society reduced to a

    special order is the proletariat. The proletariat arises

    in Germany only with the beginning of the industrialmovement ; for it is not poverty resulting from natural

    circumstances but poverty artificially created, not the

    masses who are held down by the weight of the social

    system but the multitude arising from the acute break-

    up of society especially of the middle class which

    gives rise to the proletariat. When the proletariatproclaims the dissolution of the existing order of

    things, it is merely announcing the secret of its own


    existence, for it is in itself the virtual dissolution of

    this order of things. When the proletariat desires thenegation of private property, it is merely elevating to

    a general principle of society what it already involun-

    tarily embodies in itself as the negative product of


    Marx wrote this in Paris, whither he had removedwith his young wife in October, 1848, in order to take

    up the editorship of the Franco-German Year Books

    founded by Arnold Ruge. In a letter addressed to

    Ruge from Kreu/naeh in September, 1843, Marxsummed up the program of this periodical as follows :"

    If the shaping of the future and its final reconstruc-

    tion is not our business, yet it is all the more evident

    what we have to accomplish with our joint efforts, Imean the fearless criticism of all existing institutionsfearless in the sense that it does not flinch either from

    its logical consequences or from the conflict with the

    powers that be. I am therefore not with those whowould have us set up the standard of dogmatism ; far

    from it; we should rather try to give what help wecan to those who are involved in dogma, so that theymay realise the implications of their own principles.So, for example, Communism as taught by Cabet,Dezamy, Weitling, and others is a dogmatic abstrac-

    tion. . . . Moreover, we want to work upon our

    contemporaries, and particularly on our German con-

    temporaries. The question is : How is that to bedone? Two factors cannot be ignored. In the first

    place religion, in the second place politics, are the two

    things which claim most attention in the Germany of

    to-day. ... As far as everyday life is concerned,the political State, even where it has not been con-

    sciously perfected through Socialist demands, exactly


    fulfils, in all its modern forms, the demands of reason.Nor does it stop there. It presupposes reason every-where as having been realised. But in so doing itlands itself everywhere in the contradiction between

    its ideal purpose and its real achievements. Out ofthis conflict, therefore, of the political State with itself

    social truth is evolved."

    Without a doubt, the Hegelian conception of the

    State as the embodiment of reason and morality did

    not accord well with the constitution and the workingof the actual State. And Marx goes on to remarkthat in its history the political State is the expressionof the struggles, the needs, and the realities of society.It is not true, then, as the French and English

    Utopians have thought, that the treatment of political

    questions is beneath the dignity of Socialists. Rather

    is it work of this kind which leads into party conflict

    and away from the abstract theory." We do not

    then proclaim to the world in doctrinaire fashion anynew principle :

    * This is the truth, bow down beforeit !

    J We do not say : ' Refrain from strife, it isfoolishness ! ' We only make clear to men for whatthey are really struggling, and to the consciousness of

    this they must come whether they will or not.*'

    That is conceived in a thoroughly dialectical vein.

    The thinker propounds no fresh problems, bringsforward no abstract dogmas, but awakens an under-

    standing for the growth of the future out of the past,

    inspiring the political and social warriors with the

    consciousness of their own action.



    Of the Franco-German Year Books only one number

    appeared (Spring, ]844), Alongside Marx's contribu-

    tions (an Introduction to the criticism of Hegel's"

    Philosophy of Jurisprudence and a review of Bauer's

    book on the Jewish Question) the volume contains a

    comprehensive treatise." Outlines for a Criticism of

    Political Economy," from the pen of Friedrich Engels(born in Barmen, 1820; died in London, 1895), whowas then living in Manchester. In September, 1844,

    Engels went to visit Marx in Paris. This visit wasthe beginning of the lifelong intimate friendshipbetween the two men, who without a close collabora-tion would not have achieved what they did.

    Marx was a highly-gifted theorist, a master in therealm of thought, but he was quite unpractical in the

    affairs of everyday life. Had he enjoyed a regularincome throughout life, he would probably have

    attained his end even without the help of Engels. Onthe other hand, Engels was an exceedingly able,

    energetic, and highly-cultured man, eminently prac-tical and successful in everything he undertook, but

    not endowed with that speculative temperament which

    surmounts intellectual crises and opens out newhorizons. But for his intellectual association with

    Marx he would, in all probability, have remained littlemore than a Moses Hess. Marx was never a Utopian ;the complete saturation of his mind with Hegeliandialectics made him immune to all eternal truths andfinal social forms. On the contrary, up to 1844 Engelswas a Utopian until Marx explained to him the

    meaning of political and social conflicts, the basis and

    the motive force, the statics and dynamics of the


    history of civilised mankind. Engels'*'

    Criticism of

    Political Economy"

    is a very noteworthy performancefor a youth of twenty-three engaged in commerce, but

    it does not rise above the level of the writings of Owen,Fourier, and Proudhon. Engels' contributions to

    Owen's " New Moral World " (1843 44) are indeedmore philosophical than the other articles by Owenites,but as far as matter goes, there is no perceptibledifference between them. " The System of Economic

    Contradictions," on which Proudhon was workingwhen Engels published his

    "Outlines," is couched,

    as far as the critical side is concerned, in the same

    strain of thought as we find in Engels. Both soughtto expose the contradictions of the middle-class

    economic system, not in order to discover in them the

    source of the progress of society, but to condemn themin the name of justice. Whereas the Owenites con-sidered their system as perfect, Proudhon and Engelshad, independently of one another, striven to free

    themselves from the Socialist Utopias. Proudhon

    became a peaceful Anarchist and found salvation in the

    scheme of autonomous economic groups, which should

    carry on an exchange of labour equivalents with one

    another. Engels, on the other hand, found a solution

    of his difficulties in Marx, whom he rewarded with a

    lifelong friendship and devotion, which proved to be

    Marx's salvation. Without Engels' literary and

    financial help, Marx, with his unpractical, helpless,

    and, at the same time, proud and uncompromising

    disposition, would most probably have perished in




    After the Franco-German Year Books had been

    discontinued, Marx, recognising the importance of

    economics, studied English and French systems of

    political economy with still greater zeal than before,and continued his studies in Socialism and history with

    remarkable steadiness of purpose. No longer now didhe show signs of hesitation or wavering ; he knew

    exactly what he wanted. He had left behind him that

    period of ideological speculation when he was still a

    disciple of Hegel, and he was impelled, as in the

    autumn of 1837, to envisage, from his new standpoint,the past and the future. He takes such a survey in" The Holy Family," which had its genesis in theautumn of 1844, and to which Engels also furnished

    a slight contribution. It is a settling of accounts with

    his former friend and master, Bruno Bauer, and his

    brother Edgar, who had not been able to break awayfrom Hegel. The aim of the book was to force the

    Young Hegelians into the path of social criticism, to

    urge them forward and prevent them from falling into

    stereotyped and abstract ways of thinking. It is not

    easy reading. In it Marx has compressed the know-

    ledge he then had of philosophy, history, economics,and Socialism in concentrated and sharply-cut form.

    Besides the excellent sketch of English and French

    materialism, which among other things discloses in afew short but pregnant sentences the connection

    between this and English and French Socialism," The

    Holy Family" contains the germs of the materialistic

    conception of history as well as the first attempt to

    give a social revolutionary interpretation to the class

    struggle between Capital and Labour. In the Intro-


    duction to the present book a quotation from" The

    Holy Family" has been given. Speaking against

    Bauer's conception of history, Marx says : "Orcan he believe that he has arrived even at the

    beginning of a knowledge of historical reality so longas he excludes science and industry from the historical

    movements ? Or does he really think that he can

    understand any period without having studied, for

    example, the industries of that period, the immediate

    means of production of life itself? ... In thesame way as he separated thought from the senses,the soul from the body, and himself from the world,so he separates history from science and industry, and

    he does not see the birthplace of history in coarse,material production upon earth but in the nebulous

    constructions in the heavens." (" Posthumous

    Works," Vol. II., pp. 259-60.)Bruno Bauer, who believed in the world-swaying

    might of the idea, but would not concede that the

    masses had any power whatever, wrote :" All the

    great movements of history up to this time were

    therefore doomed to failure and could not have lastingsuccess, because the masses had taken an interest in

    them and inspired them or they must come to a

    lamentable conclusion because the underlying idea

    was of such a nature that a superficial apprehensionof it must suffice, that is to say, it must reckon on

    the approval of the masses."

    Marx's answer to this was that " the great historical

    movements had been always determined by mass

    interests, and only in so far as they represented these

    interests could the ideas prevail in these movements ;otherwise the ideas might indeed stir up enthusiasm,but they could not achieve any results. The idea


    always fell into disrepute in so far as it differed from

    the interest. On the other hand, it is easy to under-stand that, when it makes its first appearance on the

    world-stage, every mass interest working itself out in

    history far exceeds, as an idea or in its presentation,its actual limits and identifies itself purely and simplywith the interest of humanity. Thus the idea of the

    French Revolution not only took hold of the middle

    classes, in whose interest it manifested itself in great

    movements, but it also aroused enthusiasm in the

    labouring masses, for whose conditions of existence it

    could do nothing. As history has shown, then, ideashave only had effective results in so far as they cor-

    responded to class interests. The enthusiasm, to which

    such ideas gave birth, arose from the illusion that

    these ideas signified the liberation of mankind in

    general. (" Posthumous Works," Vol. II., pp. 181-3.)In August, 1844, Marx published under the title

    '*Marginal Notes

    "in the Paris Vorwarts a lengthy

    polemic against Ruge, which is a defence of Socialism

    and revolution and takes the part of the German

    proletariat against Ruge." As regards the stage of

    culture or the capacity for culture of the German

    workers, let me refer to Weitling's clever writings,which in their theoretical aspect often surpass those

    of Proudhon, however much they may fall behindthem in execution. Where would the middle classes,their scholars and philosophers included, be able to

    show a work like Weitling's* Guarantees of Peace

    and Concord ' bearing on the question of emancipa-tion ? If one compares the insipid, spiritless

    mediocrity of German political literature with thisunconstrained and brilliant literary debut of the

    German workers, if one compares these gigantic baby


    shoes of the proletariat with the dwarfishness of the

    worn-out political shoes of the German middle classes,one can only prophesy an athletic stature for the

    German Cinderella. One must admit that the German

    proletariat is the philosopher of the European pro-letariat, just as the English proletariat is its politicaleconomist and the French proletariat its politician.One must admit that Germany is destined to playjust as classic a rdle in the social revolution as it is

    incompetent to play one in the political. For, as the

    impotence of the German middle classes is the politicalimpotence of Germany, so the capacity of the German

    proletariat even leaving out of account German

    philosophy is the social capacity of Germany."At that time (1844) Marx had already begun to mix

    among the German working classes resident in Paris,who clung to the various Socialist and Anarchistdoctrines which then held sway, and he sought to

    influence them according to his own ideas. With

    Heine, too, who at that time was coquetting with

    Communism, he carried on a sprightly and not unfrait-ful intercourse. He likewise came into frequent contactwith Proudhon, whom he endeavoured to makefamiliar with Hegelian philosophy. Already in his

    first work, "What is Property? " (1840) Proudhonhad played with Hegelian formulae, and Marx

    probably believed that he could win him over to

    Socialism. Proudhon, who, like the German Weitling,sprang from the proletariat, ushered in his activityas a social theorist with the above-mentioned work,which had a stimulating effect on Marx and on GermanSocialists in general, all the more so as Proudhon

    manifested some acquaintance with classical German

    philosophy. In this book (" What is Property ?"


    German edition, 1844, p. 289) he sums up the wholematter as follows : " Expressing this according to the

    Hegelian formula, I should say that Communism, thefirst kind, the first determination of social life, is the

    first link in social evolution, the thesis; property is

    the antagonistic principle, the antithesis; if only wecan get the third factor, the synthesis, the questionis solved. This synthesis comes about only throughthe cancelling of the thesis by the antithesis; one

    must therefore in the last instance examine its char-

    acteristics, discard what is anti-social, and in the

    union of the remaining two is then seen the real kind

    of human social life."That was indeed a superficial conception of Hegelian

    dialectics, for what Proudhon wanted to find was not

    a synthesis but a combination; still for a French

    working man it was a smart performance to have

    manipulated German philosophical formulae, andwould justify the most sanguine hopes. Marx did notwant to let this opportunity slip, and in

    " debates

    both late and long" he discussed Hegel